Tired of RIC and looking for BTE again

I have worn both BTE and RIC hearing aids. I prefer BTE aids based on ease of maintenance and reliability. BTE and RIC aids are very similar in size and technology. The receivers on BTE aids can easily be changed for under $100, usually much less pending on the aids.

As far as wax getting into the RIC receivers, wax guards are there to protect the receivers, easily changed.

I now am wearing Phonak Audeo rechargeable RIC aids. I stopped putting them in my dryer every night to charge them. For the first time I have had to replace the wax guards due to wax. Dryers do help.

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This was just not true for me. My ITE all died within five years, all forced me to send them in for non stop repairs. I had a whole drawer of broken ITE - the battery compartment doors all broken off, the battery still stuck in the hear aid, the aid itself split in two…

My first set of RIC stopped working at three years, my second set broke in year four, almost five, when the wax guard came off and wax damaged the internals inside the ear mold. There was no way to fix that, and even now, I can’t get them to work. My current RIC set has now broken for the second time, not even three years in. I’m not mistreating my hearing aids; I absolutely depend on them for my job and see the audiologist as needed to maintain them. The BTE model are the only “robust” hearing aids on the market, and once everything opens, I have to get my RIC fixed out of pocket. My next purchase in January and going forward is going to be a BTE. I’m done with the fragile, non stop repair needs of the more fragile ITE and RIC models.

As stated the hearing aid model that broke due to the wax getting into the ear piece was a RIC. The problem was diagnosed by my audiologist, as well as the Widex manufacturer, so there was no repairing it.

I personally loved the ITE and still do but I can’t take this non stop back and forth for repairs, especially now that I’m completely out of back ups. However, as stated, my range of loss makes the ITE no longer an option for me. So between the RIC and BTE - I’m going with the tried and tested BTE. Your experience may be different from mine. I just don’t have the time to keep taking a day off from work to get something repaired. The BTE, even by the admission of hearing aid dispensers and audiologists, is the most reliable model on the market.

Well it certainly seems you’ve had a bit of a bad run with your HA experience, it unfortunate because the RIC models that have been around for the last few years and even the latest have been pretty good, but your going to go for BTE so you’ll feel a whole lot better around reliability.

This is a little bit confusing, as the receiver is easily accessible and replaced if damaged.

Ok just remember don’t pay to much, make sure you weigh up the difference between getting a cheaper used pair off eBay, you can definitely get some deals if you shop around, DIY your programming and your on your way to big savings.

But the receiver is so easily replaced when damaged,no need to replace the HA.

I totally understand, it’s not acceptable, but you’ve had a bad run here with so many sets breaking down on you, not good.

Again I totally agree with you here, it’s a pain, a lot people will say exactly this about having to use a audiology clinic for support and adjustments to ones HA, DIY is the way for most people.

The ITEs are prone to breakage of the shell and are prone to moisture damage.
The RIC/RITE units are usually fine excepting the receivers. The wax guards are a pain, they can fall out and have on me. Phonak had a problem with their titanium shells that has been resolved. The receivers are very susceptible to moisture damage.
The BTE units are a little bigger behind the ear.

The BTE IS the most rugged of all of them.

I have worn hearing aids over 40 years. I do have some idea about that of which I speak!

Personally I have found that ITE aids are much better than Rite aids. I haven’t tried BTE aids yet but I am hoping to as I get ready for new aids this summer. My only experience with Rite aids was a total destroy. My experience with ITE aids has been good to great. I have had 4 sets of ITE aids that have had only 2 hard failures, and I have never had any failures in my battery doors.

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I’ve worn RICs with acrylic molds for years (had BTEs much earlier). I want to try BTEs again for my next set. My audio recommends against it because my hearing loss is not “profound.” Yet the manufacturers generally recommend BTEs for mild thru profound loss. Size of the instruments behind my ears is no concern for me. --Steve

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@StevenS I will more than likely be told the same as you but, after wearing RIC aids for four years and having the failures that I did, I will be strongly requesting BTE aids. Yes the RIC aids sounded great at first, then they got worse and worse over time. I wore them 4 years and I had them break 4 times. I am not sure it was the recievers or just the electronics but in all 4 cases it was due to moisture. They claim that ITE aids break too easy, that has not been my experience. I have had much better luck with ITE aids.

I started out with BTE aids. A couple years ago I tried my first RIC aids. One of the first things I noticed with RIC aids is when I sweat the receivers would get engulfed in sweat and stop working. They would need to be pulled out and sling the sweat out of them. They would be fine then until the next time. Something else I have noticed is earmolds don’t have this problem as bad as domes did. These are a couple reasons I like BTE aids best. I don’t care for the flimsy wire on RIC aids either. S
BTE standard sound tubes and even slim tubes are physically more durable.

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Leaving aside the durability, how would you rate the sound quality RIC vs BTE side by side? --Steve

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If you are asking me, I really can’t tell the difference in sound between the RIC and BTE aids. Others might but I don’t. Getting the correct acoustics and tuning is most important. Wearing RIC aids now, they are really nice but I tend to prefer the BTE aids for personal reasons.
People saying BTE aids are for severe/profound loss is just not correct. BTE aids cover just about all hearing losses.


I’ve had both RIC and BTE; in fact, my replacement that I’m now wearing in my left ear is a BTE, the one working RIC I have is in the right ear. Side by side, I hear more from the BTE because it offers a wider range of volume.

This shouldn’t be the case if both RIC and BTE aids are sized properly for your loss.

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Fascinating comparison. That’s a great way to do it, comparing ear to ear, especially since my hearing loss is similar in both ears. Thank you. --Steve

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Coulda, shoulda, woulda, isn’t. The reality is while both have good sound quality (I rate the ITE as having the best due to the location of the microphone), the BTE is simply more powerful and less fragile. As much as my audiologist might hate to hear it, the BTE just gives me more boost of hearing when I need it and the RIC simply can’t. I’m not saying without adjustments the RIC can’t do that either, but only the audiologist can make those adjustments. With the BTE, I can do that myself without yet another office visit…



As with the RICs, the venting in the earpiece must be right. If you stream music and it has no bass…the vent is too big. My advice is to go to the smallest vent you can tolerate. If I could get past the occluded feeling, I would go with no vents at all.

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Your audiologist is wrong. I did not have to fight my audiologist at all in this, but the aid companies… In trying to get a durable receiver shell for my RIC aids, He and I kept re-iterating that I didn’t care about cosmetics. Make it durable. They simply could NOT get that for some reason. It seemed to blow their minds that someone would care more for function that aesthetics.

With the BTE aids, I am fortunate. Emtech makes my molds and I can be at their manufacturing facility in 15 minutes from my home. THEY got the message. For the acrylic mold, these things are hardy!!

Your Audiologist is hung up on aesthetics. BTE aids DO treat the mildest to the most profound loss. If you cant get him to see reason, get a different audiologist.

I have said before, my aids cost $6,000.00
Yes - I am sure Costco has them for less…much less.
BUT my $6k has paid for numerous trials, numerous fittings, a LOT of back and forth with 4 manufacturers. All this over a period of two years… There has not been a single month that I havent been in the audiologist office.
That is winding down. I have the aids I need.
But my guy…he has earned that money with never a cross word…always a positive attitude…always deeply concerned about my hearing.

I just got my UV Cleaner/Dryer and my DAI shoes. They fit on these Quattro BTE aids nicely.

I am waiting on my Roger Connect. I will be using two Roger x-02 receivers with the DAI shoes.

I apologize for being long winded. I want you to understand, the audiologist is there to serve YOU.!!


Interesting. I was wearing BTE all my life due to my severe hearing loss. Recently, I have switched to Widex Evoke RITE and I do notice sound quality. In my opinion it’s better than BTE’s. Furthermore, I can now hear high pitched sounds (around 8k) which I was never able to do with BTEs (due to their more limited frequency range).

Which BTE aids are you comparing to the RITE aids?

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